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Publisher's Summary

A dramatic account of the politics and personalities behind NBC's calamitous attempt to reinvent late-night television.

When NBC decided to move Jay Leno into prime time to make room for Conan O'Brien to host the Tonight show - a job he had been promised five years earlier - skeptics anticipated a train wreck for the ages. It took, in fact, only a few months for the dire predictions to come true. Leno's show, panned by critics, dragged down the ratings - and the profits - of NBC's affiliates, while ratings for Conan's new Tonight show plummeted to the lowest levels in history. Conan's collapse, meanwhile, opened an unexpected door of opportunity for rival David Letterman. What followed was a boisterous, angry, frequently hilarious public battle that had millions of astonished viewers glued to their sets. In The War for Late Night, New York Times reporter Bill Carter offers a detailed behind-the-scenes account of the events of the unforgettable 2009/2010 late-night season as all of its players- performers, producers, agents, and network executives-maneuvered to find footing amid the shifting tectonic plates of television culture.

©2010 Bill Carter (P)2010 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
  • Rich
  • Tinton Falls, NJ, United States
  • 07-11-11

Narration is AWFUL

Interested in listening, but couldn't get through the awful narration. Get a better narrator...

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tina
  • WASHINGTON, DC, United States
  • 03-09-11

Poor story-telling/narration.

Granted, the book can't be too bad because it's about an interesting story. But for all that, it could have been both written and narrated in a much more interesting, gripping fashion. First of all, I disliked the narration. I found the pace a bit too quick and monotone to keep my attention.

That aside, the story-telling is more or less chronological, sacrificing artful construction of the narrative, which could have been more compelling. So we wade through hours of scene setting, discussing every executive and minor player along the way. The meat of the story and main event comes much later in the book. Also, the book references quite frequently the Letterman/Leno debacle-- without fully exploring or explaining it. I still don't understand how Leno is to blame for that situation. So, all in all, I think there were opportunities to tell a better, more interesting story. But, on the other hand, all the details are there! You'll know a ton about minor players and minutiae.

I don't think the above comments should keep any Leno/Conan fans from getting the book. The story sells itself. But it sure could have been better crafted/told.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful